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August 20, 2014

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Locomotives prepare for UFL Championship Game

If you go

  • WHAT: UFL Championship Game: Las Vegas Locomotives vs. Florida Tuskers
  • WHEN: Noon Friday, Nov. 27
  • WHERE: Sam Boyd Stadium
  • COST: $22-$97

The question caught J.P. Losman off guard.

Asked when he last competed in a championship game, the Las Vegas Locomotives quarterback stammered for a few moments before coming up with an answer.

“I’ve never really been in a championship game,” Losman said. “I don’t know how many players really have been.”

That will change Friday when Losman leads the Las Vegas Locomotives into the United Football League Championship game against the Florida Tuskers at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Although Losman has never won a championship, not even in little league football, he said he was not getting overly excited about the opportunity.

“Whether you want to call it the UFL Championship Game or whatever, it’s just another game to us,” Losman said. “We play every game extremely hard.”

Losman seems to be in the minority with that opinion. Most of the Locomotives at Wednesday’s Media Day at Sam Boyd said the championship game would hold special significance to them.

Las Vegas coach Jim Fassel said he told his team that some day they would all tell their grandchildren about this game.

“I’ve never played for a championship that isn’t worth cherishing,” Fassel said.

The Locomotives still feel like they have much to prove in the season’s third matchup against the Tuskers.

Florida (6-0) pounded Las Vegas (4-2), 29-15, in the first meeting between the two teams. Although the Locomotives improved before the next game, the Tuskers still eked out a 27-24 victory.

“Hopefully, the third time’s a charm,” Las Vegas running back DeDe Dorsey said.

Unlike Losman, Dorsey has played in a championship game before. He was a member of the Indianapolis Colts team that won the Super Bowl in 2006.

If the Locomotives expect to pull the upset, it will take a big game from both Losman and Dorsey.

Losman, who will be 100 percent at game time despite sitting out the final regular season game with a broken pinkie, is the league’s second leading passer with 1,193 yards and nine touchdowns. Dorsey leads the league with more than six yards per carry.

“I think they’ve found themselves on the offensive side and have good special teams,” Florida coach Jim Haslett said. “Defensively, they are kind of like us. We don’t do a whole lot and they don’t do a whole lot, but they are good at what they do. I think it will be a heck of a game.”

Florida quarterback Brooks Bollinger presents a major challenge for the Las Vegas defense. Bollinger completed 68 percent of his passes and threw for 1,519 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season.

Dorsey said he believed the defense had improved and that the Locomotives could play their best game of the season.

“Anything you do, you want to be crowned the best,” Dorsey said. “It’s another one this week. We’re trying to do the same thing and be crowned the best one out here.”

Fassel said he was proud of his team for making it this far. But he wants one more win.

“The players aren’t making a lot of money. They aren’t making a lot of bonus money in this game,” Fassel said. “But it will matter because a year from now, you are not going to know where that money is, but for the rest of your life, you will remember this game.”

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